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 AVVA / VVA Chapter 310 1st Faces of Agent Orange Town Hall Meeting was a great success. Seventy-nine Veterans and their family members attended. Bob Kwiecinski, then President of VVA Chapter 310 welcomed everyone to the Meeting. Jon Luker, VVA310 and University Liaison Military Specialist for Concordia University, was instrumental in securing the Lecture Hall at Concordia University at no cost to AVVA / VVA Chapter 310. The meeting was simulcast to the Chapel on Campus. Jon announced that all were invited back on Veterans Day 2011 for Concordia’s Veteran Day Ceremony.

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                          Kathy Driscoll and Mokie Porter
 
Our speakers consisted of Mokie Porter, above right, who stressed that we need more firsthand stories from Families affected by the Agent Orange Disease. “Significant numbers of Vietnam veterans have children and grandchildren with birth defects related to exposure to Agent Orange. To alert legislators and the media to this ongoing legacy of the war, we are seeking real stories about real people. If you wish to share your family’s health struggles that you believe are due to Agent Orange/dioxin, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 301-585-4000, Ext. 146.”
 

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                                     VVA 310 Member Jack McManus
 
Jack McManus, (above) from VVA Chapter 310, who was part of “Operation Ranch Hand” when he served in Vietnam, explained what the Dioxins “Agent Purple” and “Agent Orange” were and how some testing and use by the Department of Defense occurred in the US to defoliate some Bases across the Country. “Operation Ranch Hand was the code name of the Air Force Agent Orange spraying missions in Vietnam. Aircrews assigned to spray the defoliant used a sardonic motto: "Only you can prevent forests." But there were four other agents sprayed depending on what foliage or crop was to be destroyed.” Veterans Radio 5 February 2011.
 
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                                         VVA 310 Member Sandie Wilson

Sandie Wilson, (above) of VVA Chapter 310, spoke of the children affected by Agent Orange Disease and how it is affecting the 3rd Generation.  Sandie emphasized that we need to keep reminding our Politicians that this Disease is not disappearing but actually progresses across Generations and that tests have shown it can affect seven Generations. Sandie stressed the fact that we need to get the VA to acknowledge that Fathers can pass this disease to their children. She explained that Veterans believe their children have other conditions such as heart defects, reproductive problems, bone and joint problems, ADHD, learning disabilities, and a host of other problems which should be recognized regardless of whether the problems came from the male or female veteran.
 

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                     Kelly Saiya-Cork (Driscoll's daughter)

Kelly Saiya-Cork, AVVA Chapter 310, graduated from the University of Toledo with a MS degree in Biology.  Her graduate thesis and publications focused on bio-geo-chemical in forest soil changes at the ecosystem level.   She also graduated with an Environmental Biology BS Degree from the University of Dayton.  There she was inducted into Sigma Xi, a professional fraternity for science researchers.  She explained that her family members were directly impacted by the production of Agent Orange in Hudson County, NJ.  She has a passion for using her talents to improve the lives of those around her.  She has worked in the environmental remediation field as well as the third party safety testing field.  She explained how Environmental Scientists approach the soil testing at the molecular level.

Keith King, VVA Chapter 9, explained how his DNA has changed due to Agent Orange and the process he faces getting the VA to accept the reality that this disease has caused skin lesions and other health Issues.  He explained that he has passed this disease to his daughter and her children. His daughter, Amy Applewhite spoke about living day to day with the effects of Agent Orange Disease and how it affects her two teenage daughters. Amy also suffers from the same skin lesions as her dad.

Nancy Switzer, AVVA National President and Betty Pike, AVVA MI State Vice President, attended as well as a member of US Congressional Representative John Dingell’s Office.

Members of the US Military Vets Motorcycle club and VVA members from Chapters across the State of Michigan attended.

Each Veteran, who attended received the Agent Orange Education Packet, an Agent Orange PIN, a Vietnam colored Poppy and a “Welcome Home” greeting as they arrived.

I would like to thank all of our patrons for this project. Without their financial support this event would not have been so successful.  I would also like to thank the AVVA and VVA 310 members who helped this Town Hall meeting be a success.

Kathy Driscol - Chairperson